Malakand District is bounded in the North by Lower Dir District, in the East by Swat District, in the South-East and South-West by Mardan and Charsadda Districts respectively and in the West by Mohmand and Bajour Agencies. The Swat River flows through the District down towards Charsadda District where it falls into the Kabul River. Malakand District lies in a strategically important position as it acts as a gateway to Bajaur Pakistan, Dir(L), Swat and Bunair.
Origin of name
Yusafzai is the largest tribe living in District Malakand. A part of Malakand is occupied by the Uthmankhel clan of Pashtuns, while towards the south, at the bottom of Malakand Pass, live the Ranizais known as Sam Ranizai. Those living beyond the pass towards Swat are Swat Ranizai. This is also evident in the administration division; where one is called the Swat Ranizai and the other as Sam Ranizai.
Historic ruins, founded at different places in the agency, indicate that this area was part of Gandhara civilization and Buddhist peoples lived here. The last Buddhist ruler, Raja Gira, seems to have ruled over there about nine hundred years ago. Sultan Mahmood of Ghazni, a Muslim Turkic ruler, came there from Central Asia through Bajaur and defeated the Buddhist ruler, Raja Gira.
Later, another Turkic ruler, Muhammad Ghauri, invaded the area and Islam began to spread there.
The Yousafzai Pathan tribe came to inhabit this area is the wake of the invasion. About 400 years ago, successive Mughal rulers attempted in vain to capture this area. After the fall of the Mughals, Sikh rulers tried to conquer this area but we repulsed.
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